I think I need to start another ‘wall’ project – I can’t resist photographing them!
Recently I had the good fortune to attend a slide show of Lori’s work with Lori herself giving the commentary. You may have seen Lori’s work already, she is a photographer who specializes in creating and photographing dioramas. This image, ‘Library’, 2007, from ‘The City’ is probably the one that has been the most widely disseminated and is one of my favourite pieces. http://www.lorinix.net/the_city/16.html, Of course the subway train is a New York favourite. http://www.lorinix.net/the_city/07.html
I was very interested to hear about Lori’s studio. Along with her partner Kathleen, Lori constructs dioramas that sometimes can be big enough to climb into and she often paints the building wall behind as the background. They live in Brooklyn, New York but do not actually have an artist’s space. They use the living space of their apartment, with diorama’s taking over the living room and the kitchen table that has apparently recently been lost for several months.
As the sets take from several months to fifteen months for the longest one yet, Lori and Kathleen live with their projects as they take shape and one reason they take so long, aside from the intricate detail, is that they both until recently held full time jobs. Lori was a professional colour photographic printer, very useful for her large prints(!), but after having received a Guggenheim award she is now doing her own thing full time. Lori is a poster woman for dedication.
It doesn’t appear that Lori, or Kathleen for that matter, have much time for themselves. At the event, she remarked that even when Kathleen went home to her mother for Christmas Kathleen still spent time making up the little books that we see in ‘Library’.
That is not to say that they are total perfectionists. The dioramas are not perfect models, they are prepared from the point of view of the camera and so sides of the objects that will not be seen in the final photograph are unfinished. Because of this and the lack of space, once the photographs are taken, the models are usually thrown out.
Lori has a unique vision and talent but as we all bring our own thoughts when viewing art work I was surprised at just how dark Lori’s vision is. I didn’t realize Lori’s work is all about apocalypse and the like, she cited Planet of the Apes, the end beach scene in particular where the Statue of Liberty is buried, as an early influence. I see the images as decay and time passing but had not picked up on the depth of Lori’s feelings. She is engaging, animated and has a sense of humour but clearly has an intense interest in the end of the world as we know it. Having looked through her website and seeing her multiple bodies of work it seems very clear to me now.
Lori also talked about the process that she goes through from idea to final print. Starting with taking photographs, for example of the interior of the Natural History Museum. These are then used as guides for composite sketches and paper models. Lori checks camera positions and lighting and the set building becomes more intense. The scale goes up and down according to whether a bought piece is introduced into the set. If there is no bought piece Lori uses a drawing of a man to work out the scale for each piece.
Lori remarked that she is drawing inspiration from New York City, something I can associate strongly with (!) and worries that after the City project she won’t know where her next inspiration will be drawn from. Perhaps she will have a change of direction from making the sets as her own art work and story and head into the commercial set building world. Lori has been commissioned to produce a piece for someone else for a video shoot and has shown one of her dioramas as an educational piece in a museum and so although she considers herself a photographer who creates dioramas, people are very excited at her set building ideas and skills. It will be interesting to see where Lori’s work will go next.
I just had an epiphany!
Better late than never! Not long ago I was in the Aperture Summer Open, the theme of which you may remember was ”photography itself”.Do you remember the logo? Check it out at this link…
Today I remembered this work, “Image Object Friday 7 June 2013 4:33PM, 2013.” , featured in the ‘What is a Photograph’ exhibition at ICP, by the contemporary photographer Artie Vierkant. It reminded me of the Summer Open logo. I wondered whether Vierkant’s image had influenced Aperture.
Artie Vierkant’s work is all about using new technology, so that covers photography itself, that is version that is looking forward, but, contemporary photography often harks back to the processes used at the beginning, the invention of photography, which is also photography itself!
Then it hit me…
Both the Summer Open’s logo and Vierkant’s Image object could both have been inspired by ‘Three Sheets of Gauze, Crossed Obliquely 1852-1857’ (ca) by William Henry Fox Talbot, the British photography pioneer! What do you think?
Either way it got me thinking about William Henry Fox Talbot and how at the beginning of my official studying of photography (an ‘O’ level at school) I went to Lacock Abbey and photographed the same window that Fox Talbot had done all those years before.
Next week I am starting on a 3 year part-time Master of Fine Arts and so I’m thinking about where I started with photography, the journey I am about to embark on and wondering where I will end up. For now, let’s start back at the beginning with my photograph of that window and see what develops!
Couldn’t make it to the block party, street re-naming or pop up exhibition? No problem!
Here is a quick slideshow showing the photographs of East 100th Street that were displayed in the windows of Harlem RBI on East 100th Street, with a rough-and-ready walk by video to show the photographs in the windows and the windows in the street!
(I won’t be winning any awards for film making!)
East 100th Street on East 100th Street, August 15-18 2014.
It is not something I usually do.
I usually prefer the local and the intimate.
But, it had to be done.
I bounced over the Squibb Park Bridge.
And joined the throngs of tourists.
Claimed my spot.
Set up my tripod.
Only half over the barrier.
Not as foolhardy as others; risking a camera/tripod dip in the East River.
Ready to take the twilight picture.
The same one everyone else was waiting and lined up for.
That quintessential view of the New York City skyline.
There is nothing of my day to day life in this photograph.
It is just a spectacle that attracts me.
A glorious one that I pass by, in a car, not on foot.
Many times I wanted to stop and look at the view.
So this day I did.
Photographing it for posterity.
Far left is the Statue of Liberty.
Far right, hiding behind the Brooklyn Bridge, are the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.
I work at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, but you can’t see where I live.
Three things are happening on my block this Saturday. So mark your calendar for the afternoon of the 16th August 2014.
From 12 – The East 100th Street Memories Block Party. The annual bash will happen again and East 100th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues will be closed to traffic and will be filled with people who used to live on East 100th Street, (they run the event.)
Yep, those children you saw in Bruce Davidson’s book, East 100th Street, from the late 1960s, will be here, all grown up! You might bump into some of the people from my book too!
At the corner of East 100th and 2nd Avenue there will be a street renaming ceremony honoring the Revs. Norm and Peg Eddy. After a 2pm ceremony at the Church of Resurrection on 101st Street, the unveiling of Revs. Norm and Peg Eddy Way will begin at 3pm.
Finally, for the whole weekend there will be a pop-up photographic exhibition in the 8 windows of Harlem RBI on East 100th Street.
You may remember Harlem RBI as one of Prince Harry’s stops last year! I know them as the baseball field and a great fun and educational opportunity for the local kids. Also they were kind enough to allow me their window space for my photographs. So a big THANKS is due.
The exhibition will be up for the festivities on Saturday and will come down on Monday night and will feature photographs of East 100th Street from yours truly!
Yes, finally! My photographs on East 100th Street are showing on East 100th Street! I will be floating about on the street on the Saturday so come down and say hello and see the photographs and experience the street at the same time!
Hope to see you there.
You can find out more about Harlem RBI’s mission here: https://www.harlemrbi.org
Last year I sent off a postcard of one of my images to the mail art call by Richmond Art Gallery on the theme of memory. You may recall I sent the photograph of the blue room with the red rectangle.
After the postcards had been displayed they were then sent out to other participants in a giant swap. This week I received my swap.
It was a postcard from a photographer called Ronan Considine.
Ronan, was born in Dublin, moved to Canada as a child and currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where he works as a travel and landscape photographer.
I asked Ronan about his image…
“That photo was taken when I was traveling over to Asia. I was flying over northern BC or Alaska. Im not 100% sure but 1 of the 2. Just worked out that the sun was setting and the light was just perfect. The pastel colors and the snow topped mountains were amazing. And to have a clear airplane window for once was great!”
The first thing that I thought when I received Ronan’s postcard was that the blue colour palette matched the photographs I posted last week. My post about cyanotypes and Teddy’s curlers. It seemed like destiny for me to receive Ronan’s postcard! The second thing was that I wasn’t sure if it was a photograph or a painting, the colours were so delicate and pastel. I hadn’t seen anything like that before and really had to study it. Remarkable!
The back of the postcard was interesting too, having been in the mail twice, so I include both sides of the postcard below (street addresses removed).
Photograph copyright of Ronan Considine, used with permission.
Thinking about Ronan’s image brought to mind one from the archive- a view over Afghanistan. Ronan’s mountains have a softness that disguises the formidable landscape and presents a beautiful vista. The lovely light, slightly surreal with its pale pink and blue hues, is what transforms his image.
My photograph over Afghanistan is bare and much less romantic. The sunlight catches the near peaks and the sprinkling of snow brightens, but fundamentally doesn’t alter, the impression of monotonous brown rock. The terrain is rough and endless. I know people live and travel over this mountainous region of Afghanistan. Maybe they travel over the peaks in Ronan’s image too. One image though reminds me of subsistence living and the other of feted explorers. I wonder how my photograph would have looked if I’d flown over at sunset?
All this talk of mountains also made me think about the Sinjar Mountain range in Iraq and the Yazidi refugees, no snow there, temperatures in the 90s, not romantic and not subsistence either, just desperate.
It was great to receive Ronan’s postcard and discover his work. If you’d like to see more check out these links:
Ronan’s website http://www.considinephotography.com
Ronan’s facebook https://www.facebook.com/considinephtotgraphy
I just got an e mail off Kathy Tycholis from the Richmond Art Gallery explaining the process of teh postcard swap…
” I don’t think people realize why this “swap” takes me so long when they first submit to the exhibition. I get a few complaints from people who have to wait too long for their returned cards, but the reason is because I do try my very best to match people whose works I think speak to each other in some way. Not everyone may agree with the swaps I choose for them, and it is definitely subjective on my part…but I do try very hard to make sure both artists are happy. I’ve done a lot of swapping for shows like this, but having just so many this year was pretty overwhelming. (and in case you are wondering…yes, it is just me alone that does all this, I don’t really trust anyone else to “help” me)
So to hear your feedback is VERY rewarding, makes me feel good… I think I chose the work based on colour and mood. Very happy that the works do speak to each other so well. Thank you for this, really made my day!”
and then I got one off Ronan… I finally found them (postcards) today and to my delight I saw that I got one of yours!! I don’t know if they did that on purpose or not but it was a real delight to see you name on one of them, and to tell you the truth by far my favorite one! The photo is titled “Blue Room” And yes it has a same color pallet as my photo I love the red square in it just jumps out with great contrast. Great shot!”
I feel like I have two new friends and photographic colleagues, all from a postcard
[( 6 )] : Personal Explorations in Photography ended its run at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield, on August 1st. As promised I have compiled the comments from those who collaborated on both the online and the gallery project ‘Untitled’ and present them here on my website for you to peruse and consider.
I would like to take this opportunity to give a heartfelt and grateful THANKS to every person that took the time to respond to my work. From the one word comment or drawing to the song title, poem or essay, each one of you gave me insight both into your life experience and how you view the built environment, both in itself and also through my photographs. This has made my photographs come to life in many different and unexpected ways.
I hope that you will enjoy reading the multiple and varied responses as much as I have.
The project is ‘Untitled’ on this website:
If you couldn’t get to Bank Street Arts you can see some installation photographs and the individual works (through the blurb link) as well as contact info for all [( 6 )] photographers here: